Carbon savings promised in “biggest railway expansion in 150 years”

Source: Businessgreen A £9.4bn rail upgrade programme to create a faster, low-carbon network was announced by the government today in what ministers hailed as the biggest modernisation since Victorian times. It includes £4.2bn of new projects, including the creation of a high-capacity “electric spine” running from Yorkshire and the West Midlands to South Coast ports; electrification of the Midland Main Line between Bedford and Sheffield; and further improvements to networks in South Wales, routes between York and Manchester, and the East Coast main line. The upgrades come on top of the £5.2bn of projects already committed to between 2014 and 2019, such as Crossrail, Thameslink and electrification of lines between London and Cardiff, Manchester and Liverpool and Preston, and trans-Pennines routes. Initial planning work will also continue on HS2, the £32bn high-speed rail link running from London to Birmingham and the North. The government said its £9.4bn investment under the so-called High Level Output Specification (HLOS) programme would result in faster journey times, more reliable services and new capacity for an extra …

Puma runs away from leather in pursuit of smaller footprint

Source: Greenbiz Puma may soon be waving goodbye to leather. Executive chairman Jochen Zeitz recently said that the company will soon have to give up using the material in its athletic shoes because of the ecological damage it does to the planet. Zeitz said in an interview with the Financial Times that Puma will “eventually” have to study possible leather alternative materials. Zeitz said in the interview that the production and processing of leather are the biggest contributors to Puma’s environmental footprint. “We have to find alternative ways of producing our raw materials without asking nature to do it for us,” the Financial Times quoted Zeitz as saying. The German-based company’s recent announcement is just the latest sign that the sports footwear industry is searching for ways to cut its leather dependency. Shoemakers have long offered alternatives to leather footwear. But only recently has the trend hit the sports market. “Leather is really old school,” said Matt Powell, chief retail analyst with SportsOneSource. “It’s heavy, it doesn’t breathe well, and it isn’t always consistent.” While sustainability is a big …

Australia introduces controversial carbon tax

Source: bbc.co.uk The law forces about 300 of the worst-polluting firms to pay a A$23 (£15; $24) levy for every tonne of greenhouse gases they produce. The government says the tax is needed to meet climate-change obligations of Australia – the highest emitter per-head in the developed world. But the opposition calls it a “toxic tax” that will cost jobs. The opposition also argues that the tax will raise the cost of living, promising to repeal the legislation if it wins the next election, due in 2013. Environmentalists have broadly backed the scheme, but there have been large public protests against it. ‘Realistic way’ Australia’s mining firms, airlines, steel makers and energy firms are among those expected to be hardest hit by the the Clean Energy Act. Domestic fuel bills are expected to rise as companies pass on the costs to consumers. But the Labor government of Prime Minister Julia Gillard says it is the only realistic way of meeting Australia’s climate-change obligations. It says the that low income earners will …

Banaras Hindu University scientists achieve success in removing sulphur from coal

Source: Timesofindia VARANASI: After achieving success in obtaining clean fuel (coal) through eco-friendly clean coal technology, a team of scientists from Banaras Hindu University has achieved another milestone by removing sulphur from coal with the help of bacterial consortia. The team comprising of Prof MP Singh, department of Geology and scientist couple Dr PK Singh, associate professor, Geology and his wife Dr Asha Lata Singh, assistant professor, Environmental Science have successfully isolated bacteria from coal and have used its consortia to remove environmentally sensitive and toxic sulphur, which is present in Himalayan coal across the country. The research paper based on this work has been accepted for publication in ‘Energy Exploration and Exploitation’, which is a reputed journal of England this year. “This work is first of its kind in the country, where the bacteria has been isolated from the coal and its consortia has been used to remove sulphur, which is a major environmental pollutant. We isolated the bacteria from sulphur rich coal and scientifically carried out its mass cultivation and …

Why the cloud is sustainability’s silver lining

Source: Greenbiz Cloud computing is getting a lot of buzz. The term describes data-processing operations that are outsourced to server farms, instead of being powered on-site. These range from websites and remotely hosted networks to digital storage space and individual documents. Software delivered over the web looks very similar to software operating on a personal computer, and is accessible from any computer in the world. Consequently, some IT sector analysts are predicting the death of the personal computer while others believe it will simply become another device to access the online world. Increasingly, the engine of the IT sector is composed of large-scale data servers that are driving the cloud-computing revolution forward. With regard to energy, cloud computing should result in lower costs for users and fewer greenhouse gas emissions by streamlining information-crunching into single facilities on speedy machines. Slashing Costs The cloud certainly seems to offer significant cost savings. A recent study found that if companies adopt cloud computing, they can reduce the energy consumption of their IT departments …

Why Toyota is Top Global Green Brand of 2012

Source: Triplepundit Interbrand, one of the world’s leading brand consulting firms, released its 2012 Best Global Green Brands Report.Toyota (#1), Johnson & Johnson (#2) and Honda (#3) top the ranking with Danone (#9), Ford (#15), Starbucks (#36) and UPS (#43) representing this year’s top risers. To make the top 50 Best Global Green Brands, organizations must perform well in two areas: sustainability performance and sustainability perception. Interbrand examines how a brand’s sustainability efforts are perceived by consumers. Each brand’s performance score is based on 82 individual sub-metrics across six key elements: governance, stakeholder engagement, operations, supply chain, transportation and logistics, and products and services. Each brand’s perception score is determined through a consumer study covering 10,000 respondents; 1,000 in each of the ten largest economies, including the US, Japan, China, Germany, France, United Kingdom, Italy, Brazil, India and Canada. Each brand is assessed by 1,250 consumers using Interbrand’s six external brand strength pillars: authenticity, relevance, differentiation, consistency, presence and understanding. The Best Global Green Brand report’s overall scores are calculated by combining the …

ONGC gets carbon credits for wind power project

Source: Thehindubusinessline ONGC has received 121,207 carbon credits for its 51 MW wind power project at Bhuj in Gujarat, the company said in a statement. These credit points have been given by the United Nations body on climate change — United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.“This is the first issuance of credits from this project and second overall from the oil major’s cache of six registered environment-improvement projects,” the company said. The project, was registered in March 2010 for 21 years, with an annual accruable certified emission reductions (CER) of 85,762. This is the maiden issuance for the monitoring period from March 2010 to June 2011. ONGC has a cache of six such environment-improvement projects. “We are positioning sustainable development with a key focus on environment management in our recently declared long-term perspective plan 2030,” said Mr Sudhir Vasudeva, Chairman and Managing Director, ONGC. Continue Reading…

Carbon Sequestration’s Got an Earthquake Problem, Too

Source: Cleantechnica Fossil fuels seem to be running out of places to go. Back in March, officials in Ohio put new restrictions on the natural gas drilling method called fracking after seismologists linked it to earthquakes, and last Friday the National Research Council issued a report detailing the impact of conventional gas and oil drilling on seismic events, along with other underground activity including carbon sequestration. Now a whole new report focuses squarely on the risk of earthquakes from underground carbon sequestration. That apparently closes the door on what was supposed to be an effective way to manage greenhouse gas emissions… or does it? Carbon in, carbon out… The new report was prepared by Mark D. Zobackand and Steven M. Gorelick of the departments of Geophysics and Environmental Earth System Science at Stanford University. Aptly titled “Earthquake triggering and large-scale geologic storage of carbon dioxide,” it is a response to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which in 2005 proposed underground carbon sequestration as a viable strategy for reducing greenhouse gas emissions from coal-burning power plants …

Leading businesses to disclose greenhouse gas emissions

Source: Defra All businesses listed on the Main Market of the London Stock Exchange will have to report their levels of greenhouse gas emissions from the start of the next financial year under plans announced by the Deputy Prime Minister at the Rio+ 20 Summit today. The UK is the first country to make it compulsory for companies to include emissions data for their entire organisation in their annual reports. The introduction of the reports, following consultations with leading businesses, will enable investors to see which companies are effectively managing the hidden long-term costs of greenhouse gas emissions. The majority of businesses responding to the consultation support the change and government plans are also backed by leading employer and environmental organisations including the CBI and the Aldersgate Group. The new regulations will be introduced from April 2013.  They will be reviewed in 2015, before ministers decide whether to extend the approach to all large companies from 2016. Greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide and methane are causing climate …

The Ten Commandments of Green Marketing

Source: Environmentalleader Hold on a second. The New York Times may be giving marketers of green brands a free pass but I’m not going to let them off the hook that easily for their brands’ often uninspiring performance. Yeah, green brands are facing fierce headwinds but there are several actions marketers of sustainable brands can take to goose their brands’ sales. I’ve boiled down my suggestions into Ten Commandments of Green Marketing: I. Thou shalt not assume that all people who want to buy green products are card carrying, latte sipping (or granola munching, etc.) liberals. There are many people out there that live outside so-called politically progressive areas (e.g., Berkeley) that want to green their purchases if only it were easier.  They are worried about the environment but say they are not aware of many green brands and are skeptical about green products’ ability to get the job done at a reasonable price.  Make these folks aware of your brands and convince them they work at a price that doesn’t break the bank.  …

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